Former Westboro Baptist Church Leader Fred Phelps Dies
According to a number of local Kansas news stations, Rev. Fred Phelps Sr., the founder, and former leader, of the Westboro Baptist Church, known for their slogan "God hates fags," has died. He was 84.
Phelps' estranged son Nathan Phelps took to Facebook Sunday and revealed that his father was dying in a Topeka hospice and that he had been excommunicated from the church last summer.
"I've learned that my father, Fred Phelps, Sr., pastor of the "God Hates Fags" Westboro Baptist Church, was ex-communicated from the "church" back in August of 2013. He is now on the edge of death at Midland Hospice house in Topeka, Kansas.
I'm not sure how I feel about this. Terribly ironic that his devotion to his god ends this way. Destroyed by the monster he made.
I feel sad for all the hurt he's caused so many. I feel sad for those who will lose the grandfather and father they loved. And I'm bitterly angry that my family is blocking the family members who left from seeing him, and saying their good-byes."
According to local Kansas station KSN, Fred Phelps' son Tim confirmed his death.
According to the Associated Press, his daughter Margie Phelps also confirmed his death. She says he died shortly after midnight Thursday but did not give the cause of death or the reason why he was put in the facility.
Fred Phelps founded the WBC, based in Topeka, and has been labeled a hate group by civil rights organizations. Its few members gained international attention for picketing the funerals of military members, holding signs that read, "God Hates Fags" and "Thank God for 9/11."
AP writes: "Their activities inspired a federal law on funeral picketing and laws in more than 40 states. But in a major free-speech ruling in 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court declared the church and its members couldn't be sued for damages."
You can read the full AP obituary here.